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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Quinn Sullivan was in the second grade when legendary bluesman Buddy Guy pulled the 8-year-old guitar player onto the stage in his native New Bedford, Massachusetts to show what he could do.
“I'm like, "There's no way in the world you can play these notes,” Buddy Guy told Rolling Stone, regarding the performance. “He was hitting Eric Clapton, he was hitting me, Stevie, Jimi Hendrix. I couldn't even play a radio when I was seven or eight years old! Players like him come along once in a lifetime. I said, 'I need to let the world know about you.'"
A decade later, the guitar prodigy has shredded six-string licks in front of the TV cameras for Oprah Winfrey, Jimmy Kimmel and NBC's The Today Show, performed at music festivals alongside Dave Matthews, Sonic Youth, and Pearl Jam, and received a standing ovation while on stage at the Crossroads Guitar Festival at Madison Square Garden with his mentor Buddy Guy. Surreal, he says.
“The musical influence came right from the time when I was a little kid,” says Sullivan, who celebrated his 18th birthday in March. “My parents bought me a First Act acoustic guitar for Christmas – one of those kids’ guitars - when I was about three years old. That was my first encounter. They also played me all different kinds of music, from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers band. In my house, the music was always playing and I would just sit down, and absorb it all.”
Sullivan released his debut album, “Cyclone,” in 2011. His latest, “Midnight Highway,” was released last year. Sunday afternoon, local fans can catch the blues phenom on the big stage during Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The event, which takes place on two stages Saturday and Sunday, features nearly two dozen acts and is headlined by Chaka Khan - on Saturday night, and the Gipsy Kings – who close the festival on Sunday.
A living contradiction of the classic Alice Cooper tune about teen angst, Sullivan is 18 and he knows what he wants.
“There are the normal things that are great about becoming 18, but I think I’ve grown up in such a good environment with really great people in my life and a support system that has always been there and surrounded me. My main focus now is to just put on the best show I can,” says the guitarist, who performed nearly 100 shows last year and will certainly top that number in 2017.
“I’ve been able to evolve; Playing with the guys I’ve been playing with for years now we’ve reached this level on stage where everybody is jelling and the chemistry is very good,” Sullivan says. “I think the future of music – real music anyways - is live music and live performances, more so than records. I love the recording process and making records, but to me you need to have that same level of confidence on stage,” he says. “I think that’s what a true artist does, and that’s what I’m trying to do: to better my live show, and to not be afraid to take chances. Life in general is about taking chances especially when you’re in the music industry. I’m all about learning more and more every single day. “
With a bright future ahead of him, Sullivan says the musical path is without restriction, or limit. And while some may try to tag him strictly a blues artist, the guitarist says he won’t be pigeonholed into such fine a category.
“I don’t think of music as one thing, six different genres. I think if you’re putting out music that touches someone, that helps someone feel something, that’s the key to great music. I have so many different influences that I take from and I want to put that into what I do,” he says. “The sky’s the limit.”
If he wasn’t a touring musician, Sullivan says he imagines he somehow would have found his way into some segment of the arts. And at the age of 18, he’s not so far removed from his initial inspiration of what he wanted to be when he grew up.
“When I was a little kid, it was funny, I wanted to be a police officer. That was my first love,” recalls Sullivan of an age when the guitar was still a hobby. “I had a cousin who I used to play cops and robbers with all the time. I was totally down for that.”
View Quinn Sullivan at various stage of his musical life:
- The 8-year-old guitar prodigy tears it up on the B.B. King classic, "The Thrill is Gone," at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHoO3JHnn3Q.
- Performing Jimi Hendrix’ “Little Wing,” a sunburst Strat draped across his lithe torso, his chest be-spotted with a Sex Pistols “T-Shirt, on stage at the Western Maryland Blues Festival, June, 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMl7FYVz8x8
- Sullivan’s latest, “Something for Me,” featuring noise-infused blues on the cobblestone streets of downtown Manhattan: https://youtu.be/C1oIzzxtOUQ
Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival will be held Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25 at SPAC. For more information about artists performing and tickets to the festival, go to: http://www.spac.org/events/jazz-festival.
ALBANY – The New York State Department of Health announced this week that a healthcare worker employed by Hudson Headwaters has been confirmed to have measles. The highly contagious respiratory disease causes a rash and fever and can be passed from one person to another just by being in a room where someone with measles coughed or sneezed.
Symptoms appear about 10 to 12 days after a person is exposed to measles. The infected individual, in addition to working at Hudson Headwaters, spent time at a Saratoga County Home Depot, the Stadium Restaurant on Broadway, and a Warren County medical practice between June 5 and June 8.
The state DOH warns anyone who visited the following locations may have been exposed: Home Depot (garden section of store), 3043 Route 50, Wilton-Saratoga Springs border between noon and 2 p.m. on June 5; Saratoga Stadium restaurant, 389 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, between 6:15 - 9:30 p.m. on June 7, and the following three Hudson Headwaters Health Network locations: Warrensburg Health Center, 3767 Main St., between 7:25 a.m. - 7 p.m. on June 6, or between 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. on June 7; Hudson Headwaters Health Network, 9 Carey Rd., Queensbury, between 7 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. on June 7; Hudson Headwaters Health Network West Mountain Health Services, 161 Carey Rd., Building 1, Queensbury, between 7:45 – 10:35 a.m. on June 8.
The times reflect the period that the infected individual was in these areas and a two-hour period after the individual left the area, as the virus remains alive in air and on surfaces for up to two hours. This explains the overlap in times. A person with measles can pass it to others from four days before a rash appears through the fourth day after the rash appears.
Symptoms generally appear in two stages.
In the first stage, which lasts two to four days, the individual may have a runny nose, cough and a slight fever. Eyes may become reddened and sensitive to light while the fever gradually rises each day.
The second stage begins on the third to seventh day and consists of a red blotchy rash lasting five to six days. The rash usually begins on the face and then spreads downward and outward, reaching the hands and feet. Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age.
Individuals lacking immunity or not sure if they have been vaccinated, should contact their health care provider if they develop measles symptoms. Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis or runny nose. Symptoms usually appear in 10-12 days after exposure.
To prevent the spread of illness, the state DOH advises anyone who may have been exposed and who has symptoms consistent with measles to contact their health care provider or a local emergency department before going for care. This will help to prevent others at these facilities from being exposed to the illness. After contacting their health care provider, symptomatic individuals should also contact the local health department.
A person is unlikely to get measles if they were born before Jan. 1, 1957, have received two doses of the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine or have a lab test confirming immunity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 100 people from 11 states – including New York - were from Jan. 1 to May 20, 2017 reported to have measles. In 2016, those reports numbered 70 people, and in 2015 -188 people. In 2014, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases, with 667 cases from 27 states reported to CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases - marking the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.
For more information about measles, go to: https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2170/.
Where did you grow up and what helped shape you creatively?
I was born in Dallas, Texas, and moved to Saratoga Springs when I was around 10 years old. My earliest memories include my mom taking my brother and I to art museums, and driving around in the front seat of my dad's pickup truck, because the backseat was too full of construction tools. In large ways and small, my mom and dad would always put me at the intersection of inspiration and the possibility to make something... so I was off to a good start.
I couldn't read or write until I was around eight because of a learning disability, and that was incredibly discouraging for me throughout my time in school. As a result, I always gravitated towards expressing myself through art in some capacity.
How does the creative process work for you?
It's incredibly unpredictable. Sometimes things will begin to crystalize after I've been sitting with the guitar for a little while, and other times fully formed choruses will erupt in my head - lyrics and all. I've written songs in the car and in the shower, but many of them were born in the middle of the night on my bedroom floor. Just in case, I always try to carry a notebook with me.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned traveling around the world?
The world is on your side, if you'll let it be. People want to connect with one another and help each other. When I've trusted that, and approached others with kindness, curiosity and enthusiasm, I've heard beautiful stories and had incredible conversations and have made wonderful friends. Even when bad things happened, they only opened up more room for the good in people to flourish and be seen.
On Sunday night, your homecoming will be celebrated with a concert at Caffè Lena. What can people coming to the show expect?
It's been about two years since I've played a proper show in Saratoga, so I want it to be a blast for everyone, and unique. I'll be playing songs new and old. I'm toying with the idea of playing the first song I ever played at Caffè Lena's open mic when I was 17. It might be a little embarrassing, hahaha. I attended the open mics religiously as a teenager. I would sit with other musicians in the greenroom and they would teach me cool things I could try on guitar, or we would talk about a song I was working on. The whole night is going to be really special to me, and I'm hoping everyone feels that.
Folks attending will also be given a CD with an exclusive preview of your next record.
Often we only see the finished product, and Caffè Lena is where I learned to value and fully engage with the process of writing songs. The process of writing was made so special because of the people I met there, and I thought it would be fun and appropriate to share a work "in process."
MaryLeigh Roohan will perform at Caffè Lena at 7 p.m. on Sunday June 25. Tickets are $14 general public, $12 café members and $7 students and kids.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - Keeping up with potential development projects in the city can sometimes be a daunting task, but this Thursday's Planning Board meeting – held 7 p.m. at City Hall - offers residents the opportunity to learn more about three major project proposals in their infancy stage and looming on the future horizon.
The projects slated for discussion are:
Mixed-use development on West Avenue (here’s a link to our original story : http://www.saratogatodayonline.com/home/item/6043-you-are-looking-at-significant-development-saratoga-springs-grows-west);
South Broadway (diner) redevelopment (learn more here: http://www.saratogatodayonline.com/home/item/6353-diner-to-be-razed-at-saratoga-gateway-and-a-new-vision-for-south-broadway ); and a new condominium complex at 120 Henry Street (city application link here: http://saratoga-springs.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/1855?fileID=7394).
Danny Melnick grew up on Long Island listening to The Who and the Rolling Stones records the older kids used to play. His friends loved Kiss, the Good Rats, and Twisted Sister; his younger brother had a fondness for pop new wave.
“Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys,” he bristles. “Music I couldn’t stand then, and music I still can’t listen to today.”
Melnick was more drawn into a world of moody tempo changes, haunting mellotrons and lyrical fantasy. Melnick was a Prog kid.
“Somehow, I got into Progressive Rock: King Crimson and Yes, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull. Through that education I learned about Miles Davis and John Coltrane and then quickly on to people like Dave Holland and John Abercrombie, Gary Burton and early Pat Metheny,” he says. “It really opened up my ears to a lot of things.”
Why this all matters is the reasoning behind what brings thousands of people to the Spa City every year for The Hang. This month, the Saratoga jazz festival celebrates its 40th anniversary with two days of shows on two stages, marking the fifth longest-consecutive-running jazz festival in North America.
Melnick first worked with the festival in 1991, overseeing the transport of musicians from New York City to Saratoga Springs. “The band bus monitor,” he says. Eight years later he was in charge of booking all the artists to perform at the festival.
“The market there is pretty interesting. The audiences in Saratoga have been coming to this festival at SPAC for a very long time. They’re committed to it. We’ve got people coming in from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the tri-state New York City area, and of course, the Capital Region. So, for me, as a presenter, I’m trying to appeal to all of them with a great mix of artists,” Melnick says. He’s also cognizant of maintaining traditions.
“When I look back at the acts in the late ‘70s and ‘80s there was always blues, always Latin, always straight-ahead jazz, a little bit of avantgarde here and there. I try very hard to continue that. The biggest challenge in modern times is that so many legendary jazz legends have died,” Melnick says, riffing on a memory list of the departed that includes Dave Brubeck and Ray Charles, B.B. King and Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Art Blakely and Ella Fitzgerald. “I can name fifty artists who have played the festival and who today are gone. So now, I have to mix it up a little more.
“The festival needs to keep going forward. In order to stay alive and stay relative you need to book a diverse roster of artists who can tell where the music is today,” he says. “I want people to learn about new artists, I want them to be entertained and to have fun. I want emerging jazz artists to have a platform, to be heard, to build careers so that hopefully they will become headliners in the future.”
This year’s Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival - initially called the Newport Jazz Festival at Saratoga when it launched in 1978 – will feature a new, bigger gazebo stage for emerging artists to showcase their talents.
“Quite a few people who started out playing the gazebo stage have moved on, to the main stage, or are playing bigger festivals around the world. It’s cool that the festival audience is supporting the artists. They’re listening to them, they’re meeting them, they’re getting their autographs, they’re buying their CD’s. And there are no walls between the artists and the audience, it’s all right there,” says Melnick, president and director of Absolutely Live Entertainment. His official title at the Saratoga jazz festival is producing partner and artistic director.
His accomplishments as a presenter include a world tour commemorating the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue" recording, North American tours celebrating the Monterey Jazz Festival’s 55th anniversary, and the Newport Jazz Festival’s 60th, concerts at Carnegie Hall as part of the JVC Jazz Festival and a Blue Note Records' four month-long 70th Anniversary tour.
“There were nights when I was hanging out with Dizzie Gillespie backstage in Japan and thinking: really? How did this happen?” Prior to forming ALE, Melnick was the artistic director and a senior producer at George Wein's Festival Productions company.
“I have a lot of great memories and incredible stories. I’ve been very lucky over the years to be in the places that I’ve been and do the work that I’ve done, particularly in all the years when I worked as an employee for George Wein,” he says of the jazz impresario who founded the local festival in 1978. One recent memory involved booking legends Tony Bennett and Buddy Guy on the festival’s closing night in 2013.
“Buddy Guy was set to close with Tony Bennett going on before him. A week before the festival, Buddy’s agent calls.
“Buddy has a problem closing,” Guy’s agent told him. “He feels weird going on after Tony Bennett. He doesn’t want to disrespect Tony.”
“I said: What? What do you mean?”
“Well, Tony is a legend and Buddy feels, who is he to go on after Tony Bennett?” the agent said.
“Listen, ‘Buddy Guy is a legend also,’ I told him. Tony is going to go out there with a jazz trio. He’s going to sing standards. He’s going to put the microphone down at one point and sing an amazing a capella tune, and then Buddy’s going to come out with his electric blues band and rip the place to smithereens,” Melnick recalled. Those in attendance will recall that’s exactly how it all went down.
“It was all vetted with Tony, and he was fine with it. The agent called me back to say Buddy was cool with everything. What was so interesting to me to hear, after all those years and success and awards that an artist like Buddy Guy still had the humility to look at the situation and express themselves in that way.”
The Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary on Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The milestone event features the return of Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jean Luc-Ponty - who performed on the inaugural 1978 festival. Headlining the weekend are Chaka Khan, and the Gipsy Kings. Jazz 100, led by Danilo Pérez, will pay homage to iconic musicians Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Mongo Santamaria, and Thelonious Monk in celebration of the 100th anniversary of their shared birth year. For more information about the festival go to: www.spac.org.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - Following an ongoing investigation, deportation officers with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations arrested 10 unlawfully present adult males and one unaccompanied alien minor Wednesday, in Saratoga Springs. The men - one Guatemalan national and nine Mexican nationals, who are between the ages of 20-49, currently face administrative immigration violations.
The arrests occurred without incident near multiple area residences. Three of the adult males are facing potential federal felony charges for re-entry after deportation. All of the adult males are currently being held at the Albany County Correctional Facility, according to a statement issued by ICE on Thursday.
The unaccompanied alien minor was served with a Notice to Appear in immigration court, and transferred to the Department Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement for placement, consistent with ICE policy relating to minors.
Just over two weeks ago, special agents and officers with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement and Removal Operations arrested 16 men in Saratoga Springs with alleged administrative immigration violations.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A boombox sits on the sill next to a soccer ball. The board games Monopoly and Yahtzee await nearby. A pair of cots recline beneath a ceiling fan in the 500 square-foot room bookended by a quartet of glass windows that look out to the city’s east side.
Outdoors, beneath a sign heralding the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church (PNECC) is an announcement that reads: All Welcome. Upstairs, the Rev. Annie Reilly and Terry Diggory spend the afternoon re-purposing the room into a space where undocumented immigrants facing possible deportation may seek sanctuary.
“I think it’s an excellent opportunity for the church to put its money where its mouth is,” Reilly says. “We talk about welcoming strangers. What better way than to welcome sanctuary seekers.”
Churches as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants were prevalent in the southwestern part of the country during the 1980s when Central American residents fleeing political repression and violence in their homeland sought asylum in the U.S. More recently, churches vowing to offer sanctuary to immigrants have begun to dot the national landscape, coast-to-coast.
In Saratoga Springs, two churches have stepped forward with a sanctuary pledge for undocumented immigrants who are targets of deportation.
“We’re in the midst of an immigration crisis, and it’s not just a matter of region. People all over are affected,” says Diggory, who coordinates PNECC’s Welcoming Immigrants task force. “And this is not just immigrants but for the community as a whole, to encompass the spirit of ‘welcome’ and not just fear.”
The sanctuary policy was affirmed by the church Governing Board on June 5, joining with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Saratoga Springs, who in April made a formal statement in support of sanctuary for immigrants.
“We’re excited the two churches are working together - partnering to support those of us under the threat of deportation, or who feel threatened by it – whether they’re here legally or not,” says the Rev. Joseph Cleveland, minister at UUC. “I hope it emboldens other congregations to take this step. These are people who are a part of our community - and I’m not talking about the track - people living here year-round, people who are now afraid to go to the doctor if they’re sick for fear of getting picked up.”
The two churches’ public commitment comes one week after special agents and officers with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement and Removal Operations arrested 16 men in Saratoga Springs with alleged administrative immigration violations. Nine of those men are facing potential federal felony charges for re-entry after deportation, or visa fraud.
The concept of “sanctuary,” as more commonly aligned in the context of sanctuary cities or sanctuary college campuses, is not a legal designation but is more an amorphous entity with no set definition or rules to follow, says Brendan Venter, associate attorney and immigration specialist with the Whiteman Osterman & Hanna firm in Albany.
“Sanctuary is a concept more than anything else that covers a range of different policies or guidelines that these entities can choose to follow, or not follow, on a case-by-case basis,” Venter says. “A college campus for example can label itself a sanctuary campus and institute policies that are protective of foreign nationals or individuals regardless of immigration status, but there is also a wide spectrum of policies they can implement.”
One such policy to be implemented at PNECC would be the refusal to hand over information about individuals’ immigration status to federal authorities without a warrant, or some legal compulsion to do so. “If an ICE agent showed up with a judicial warrant we would need to (honor that) warrant, but until you show that warrant we are not permitting contact with that person,” Diggory says.
“Designating oneself as a ‘sanctuary’ doesn’t mean that people without immigration status are immune from federal law. Federal law still applies to them,” Venter says. “The concept of sanctuary more applies to how much that entity – whether it be a city, a town, a college campus, or a church is willing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities or enforce federal immigration law beyond what’s absolutely necessary or required of them.”
“We would accept a person in sanctuary only if that person has a good case for some sort of appeal to ICE authorities for administrative relief,” says Diggory, explaining that there can be a punitive lag in between the time a person in special circumstances can apply for a visa.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operates under guidelines that recognize places like churches and schools as “sensitive locations” where agents would not normally carry out enforcement actions.
Should a person seek sanctuary, the church will not operate in secrecy, Diggory said. Rather the church is, and will remain, publicly forthcoming in order to raise public awareness of the immigration crisis. He knows there can be no guarantees, however. “Those guidelines are entirely up to ICE. If they decide not to follow those guidelines… we cannot say this is going to absolutely protect you from being taken into custody.”
“Traditionally places such as churches or courts have been places where ICE agents would not go to seek out, or detain people,” explains Venter. “But, if you read the news today, you’ll see all sorts of stories about people being picked up going to court dates, or at churches and other places of religious worship due to the heightened enforcement of all immigration laws we’ve seen over the past six months or so. “
City Council members fiddled with their respective pens, rested chins on palms of hands and listened intently to the 12 speakers who came forward Tuesday night at City Hall, where a public hearing was held regarding the much-debated SPA Housing Zoning Ordinance.
The goal of the plan – initially proposed in 2006 - is to produce “affordable” homebuyer and rental housing units for working households across the city. That last part – across the city – appears to be a major sticking point for some.
Tuesday night, Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus addressed the council and recommended they seek “site-specific” affordable housing projects to be placed in designated locations, rather than the across-the-city policy the Inclusionary Zoning, or IZ proposal offers.
Sustainable Saratoga Chairman Harry Moran, who resurrected the plan when bringing it to the council last year, pointed to the council’s study of the plan as “a watershed moment” in the city’s history, and local Rev. Joseph Cleveland – who also spoke in favor of the IZ – told the council that a citywide diversity would help make Saratoga Springs a more sustainable city and that “we should not put gates up between communities.”
A vote scheduled for Tuesday to amend the existing Zoning Ordinance to add Inclusionary Zoning – as well as a vote regarding the SEQRA Determination for the SPA Housing (IZ) ordinance - was tabled until Monday, June 19, the date of the next City Council meeting. The vote requires majority approval of the five council members to be adopted and it is not clear, at this point, which way that vote will go.
7 p.m. Monday, June 12: Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting at City Hall.
3 - 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 13: Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Technical Review Advisory Committee (TRAC) Meeting at Saratoga Music Hall.
Who: Dave Patterson.
Where: Congress Park.
What are you doing today?
Taking a group of fourth-graders from Geyser Road Elementary School on an outside tour of Congress Park. When my group is finished, we’re going to switch with Jamie Parillo – he’s the director of the Saratoga Springs History Museum – and he will take the students on an inside tour of the history museum. This is part of the fourth-grade program on local history.
Where are you from originally?
Originally from South Boston. I’ve been living in Saratoga for about 40 years now. I used to be president of the history museum, and I used to teach a course on local history at Saratoga high school.
How has Saratoga changed in the 40 years since you’ve been here?
It’s changed quite a bit. The buildings have been sprouting like flowers, but way back in the day, in the 1880s, there were buildings over there (on Broadway) that were taller than they are now. As a matter of fact, the largest hotel in the world used to be right across the street from this park: The Grand Union hotel. So as big as Saratoga is getting now with the buildings, it pales in comparison to what it was in the 1880s.
Student question: How long have the springs been in Congress Park?
One of the first springs discovered in Saratoga Springs is called Congress Spring – right over there. A man named Nicholas Gilman found water bubbling out of the ground and brought his friends to it. Because he used to be a member of the Continental Congress, they named it Congress Spring, and it was so important that this whole park used to be called Congress Spring Park.
Student question: How many springs are there?
We have 17 today. At one time, we had just over 200.
Student question: How is Saratoga with the pollution?
Saratoga’s been pretty lucky because we haven’t had a lot of industry that would create pollution. Probably the biggest polluter in Saratoga Springs would be the automobile. Of course, 100 years ago we had horses and carriages - and horses have their own kind of pollution, if you know what I mean, so you had to keep the streets clean.
Student question: Are any of these places here haunted?
The building right behind you. Did you ever see a show called “Ghost Hunters”? Well a few years ago they came in and said there were spirits right in the museum here.
Student Response: Awesome!!!
Yaddo’s annual summer benefit will feature Terry McMillan, best-selling author of “Waiting to Exhale,” “A Day Late and A Dollar Short,” “The Interruption of Everything,” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” among others. The event will take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 22. Proceeds from the benefit play a crucial role in ensuring the artists’ residency program continues to flourish. More than 6,500 individuals have created works at Yaddo – from literature and paintings, to photography, sculpture, music, dance and film – that have helped shape culture and touched millions of lives. For ticket information, go to: https://www.yaddo.org/.
Who: Elaina Richardson.
What are some of the best things Saratoga has to offer?
I’ve been here 17 years now and I love the number of trails for walking, running, and biking. Also, the combination of spending the day outdoors being very relaxed and then in the evening being at some of the most sophisticated art offerings in the world. You’re always combining both sides of your brain, in one beautiful place.
The mansion at Yaddo is nearing 125 years old and is set to undergo a restoration.
The work at the mansion begins next month. It’s a two-year process that will stabilize the building and include some modest upgrades. We’ve raised $6.5 million in a $10 million campaign, which is going very well and ahead of schedule, so we’ll be able to keep Yaddo at its very best for another century.
The annual Yaddo gala will take place June 22, feature Terry McMillan and will take place at a site on the grounds rarely seen by the public.
You will come up that wonderful driveway, you will still see the mansion, but nobody really gets to see past the mansion. This is going to take you behind West House – which is our mini-mansion - and will take place on the Great Lawn under a tent, which allows you to see where the graveyards and the guest areas are. When we have the event in the mansion we have to cut it off at 200 people. This will allow us to have more people come this year.
There has been an active outreach into the community in recent years.
There are two parts to the Yaddo in the Community Initiative. One is a partnership with Northshire Bookstore where we co-host events featuring leading authors who have a Yaddo connection. (Yaddo will present An Evening with Gail Godwin at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 5 at Northshire Bookstore, 424 Broadway). It’s a celebration of the author and it’s also where people can meet some of the current artists-in-residence.
There is also a program with the Saratoga Springs High School where we have had some of the junior and senior students choose an archival project associated with Yaddo. The students did a lot of research, were able to access to papers in the Yaddo archive and got to do some one-on-one interviews with Yaddo artists.
In addition to the restoration at the mansion, what else is in store for Yaddo in the future?
There are plans for landscape improvements and interventions which will really help the public areas of the grounds. Right now, we get over 50,000 visits a year and we want to make it a little easier for people to park and spend a whole afternoon picnicking, so you’ll begin to see some work going on in the public areas.
We’ll also be working a little more on balancing ways of having more spaces for readings and concerts during which the community can be invited in without undermining the retreat. So, there’s a lot going on and the next few years will be exciting.